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Delta Dental of New Mexico Races into Action at Special Olympics New Mexico State Summer Games

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., May 29, 2015 — Delta Dental of New Mexico is going the distance by sponsoring and volunteering at the 2015 Special Olympics New Mexico State Summer Games. The Games take place from Friday, May 29, through Sunday, May 31, at the UNM Track-Soccer Complex and other locations. Delta Dental’s contribution of $7,500 goes to the Special Olympics Special Smiles® program, which provides oral health screenings for Special Olympics athletes at the Summer Games. Delta Dental employees will be on hand to volunteer on Saturday. And, the company’s own Marshall Molar (Ambassador of Smiles) will enter the fray from 9-11am on Saturday to cheer on athletes, pose for photos, and inspire others to practice good oral hygiene. Delta Dental has sponsored Special Olympics New Mexico since 1998.

“Through our partnership with Special Olympics New Mexico over the last 17 years, Delta Dental of New Mexico is proud to provide dental screenings to children and adults with intellectual disabilities during each year’s Summer Games,” said Sara Limón, chief operating officer at Delta Dental. “We look forward to sharing the joy of this year’s competition with each athlete as they demonstrate courage and resolve in this fantastic event.”

Delta Dental is the sole sponsor of the Special Smiles program, part of the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes® initiative. Delta Dental’s chief dental officer, Jesús Galván, DDS, will be present alongside a team of volunteer dentists and hygienists to provide on-site dental screenings to athletes. Dr. Galván, who organizes the Special Smiles program, said that the dentists and hygienists who volunteer are instrumental in providing oral health screenings, recommendations, and referrals to athletes at the Games.

He also highlighted the importance of health data collected through Special Smiles. “The program gathers specific data about presenting conditions and oral health history of the athletes,” said Dr. Galván. “These data are used for strategic long-term health-care initiatives.”

He said that the oral health data collected through Special Smiles have been used successfully to develop long-term health care programs for people with intellectual disabilities. According to Special Olympics New Mexico, the Healthy Athletes program has created “the largest database of health data in existence.”

Outside of Special Smiles, Delta Dental volunteers will be at the Games on Saturday to escort athletes to and from events and help out as needed. This year, Delta Dental will hand out sunglasses to each athlete.

Special Olympics New Mexico is a nonprofit organization that trains children and adults with intellectual disabilities in sports and athletics. The organization holds competitions throughout the year in New Mexico. Events at the Summer Games include athletics, bocce, soccer, and volleyball.

About Delta Dental of New Mexico
Delta Dental of New Mexico is a nonprofit dental benefits provider that aims to advance oral health for New Mexicans through dental benefits plans and community giving. The company has served New Mexicans for more than forty years and covers nearly 390,000 New Mexicans. Delta Dental is proud to give to New Mexico service organizations including Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless, school-based dental clinics via UNM’s Division of Dental Hygiene, Blessings in a Backpack, Leadership New Mexico, the New Mexico Dental Foundation, New Mexico Mission of Mercy, Special Olympics New Mexico, and UNM United Way. Delta Dental is headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
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